The Two Jakes is a great movie. It got a critical thumping on release, and has forever suffered from being compared unfavorably to Chinatown, to which it is a sequel of sorts, made sixteen years later. The cinéastes among us will also know about its troubled production, and use that as further evidence of its unworthiness.
As to that Chinatown connection - any movie can be compared to any other and dismissed (or praised) accordingly. The trick is to view a work of art not in a comparative context but for its own merits. We don't grade (say) Picasso's work according to an Amazonian five-star system. We don't say that Mozart's Clarinet Concerto K622 is better than his Horn Concerto K447. But in popular culture we have this weird compulsion to rate artistic works on a scale of comparative worth. If you give Astral Weeks five stars, how many do you give A Period Of Transition? It's a futile exercise, and leads to reducing art to a scorecard.
The second impediment to appreciating The Two Jakes is knowledge of its production difficulties. As if great movies are the result of smooth production and easy teamwork. These difficulties are not apparent on-screen (as they are not apparent in the grooves of Born To Run). What you get on-screen is a great movie. Great story, great performances, great script, great cinematography, unforgettable scenes, and Jack Nicholson at the top of his game.
What? Two what? Nicks? Oh. I'm sorry. Carried away there. Today's offering is part of PEW (Psychedelic English Whimsy) Week here at th' House O'Foam©. The Great Indoors is drop-dead gorgeous. Psychotropia - ooh - shall we give it four stars against Haeffner's five?